.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Message

It is right that the First Minister has declared in his Christmas message that the fight against child poverty is his top priority however words will not be enough. The Assembly Government has a target of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it altogether by 2020.

These are ambitious targets. They are more so when one considers that the recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation annual report has found that the level of childhood poverty in the UK is the same in 2005/06 as it was in 2002/03.

These figures have stark implications. At present, there are 170,000 children living in poverty in Wales. That bald statistic does not even begin to describe the effect upon children’s lives: poor health, educational underachievement, and a growing division between rich and poor in our communities are the real cost we all pay for child poverty.

Experts in the field, such as the Child Poverty Action Group, recommend that Government expands childcare provision, thus allowing parents and carers to get a job more easily. They also want to simplify the benefit system so that people can understand it, and work out what they are entitled to get more easily. There needs to be a legal requirement for public bodies, including the NHS and local councils to make a commitment to tackling child poverty.

My main concern is that the recent budget will cause us to go backwards in this objective. Local Councils deliver a number of services that can assist people in getting themselves out of poverty. Below-inflation revenue support grant increases from the Assembly Government could bring about cuts to those services and a consequent increase in child poverty.

There is also little sign of the Westminster Labour Government taking effective action to deliver on their aim, particularly in the field of benefits, or of working in a cross cutting way with the Assembly Government and others on this issue. Rhodri Morgan has laid out his stall, he has very little time now to deliver.
Do you agree with the measure of poverty - on or below 60% of median income? Because aren't we looking then at reducing inequality, rather than poverty?

I know that everyone agrees any measure of poverty should have a relative poverty component but in essence aren't you arguing simply for compressing the distribution curve of wealth?
My mistake - confusing median with mean
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?